When we study our ecosystem closely, we realise how perfect God’s every creation is. What might seem completely futile or useless at some point in time can still be of good use to us, only if we have creativity and compassion in our perspective. Coconut Bowls are a product of man’s desire to save the earth by recycling coconut shells that would otherwise be disposed of and incinerated. While mankind would have probably used coconut bowls during the stone age, the idea and the creation were probably lost over the ages.
However, in 2015, an Australian surfer named Jake McKeon re-introduced the idea of coconut bowls while on a trip to Bali. What started as a small, eco-friendly business on Instagram is now a million-dollar business, inspiring many others to join the movement too, either by producing coconut bowls locally or by purchasing these fantastic coconut bowls for their kitchen and home décor. The market is now offering a variety of coconut shell products such as coconut bowls, coconut shell spoons and coconut bowls and spoon sets.
How Are Coconut Bowls Made?
Let us look at the simple process of creating these aesthetic coconut bowls, which are trending on social media these days.
Firstly, the inside of a used coconut is scraped to remove any remaining coconut meat. Then, the outside of the shell is sanded. The bowls are scraped and sanded from inside and outside by hands to create a smooth bowl. As the final step, the bowls are polished with virgin coconut oil to make them safe for consumption.
Benefits Of Using Coconut Bowls
Now one would ask, why ditch their regular bowls and use coconut bowls? Read below to find out the various benefits associated with using coconut bowls:
- Coconut bowls are natural products and contain no toxins or artificial chemicals. Since the entire process of the creation of the bowl is done by hand, the coconut bowls are not exposed to any harmful process that may generate toxins or chemicals. The same can be said for coconut shell spoons too, which are also created using old coconut shells. The coconut shell is carved into the shape of a spoon using regular hand tools and then polished to produce the final product, which is the coconut shell spoon.
- Coconut bowls are way more durable and reliable products than your ordinary bowls. They are naturally hard and strong and can be used for years. They resist heat well and are also lump-resistant, making them easier to wash and re-use. Those who have bought the coconut bowl and spoon set swear by its durability and long-lasting shine, making it look as good as new.
- Coconut bowls and other coconut shell products such as coconut spoons are 100% biodegradable, recyclable, earth-friendly and generate no waste. Annually, millions of coconut shells are disposed of. There are two ways of coconut shell disposal- either by dumping in landfills or by burning coconut shells. Both ways are extremely damaging to the environment as the incineration of coconut shells releases unhealthy gases like methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The release of these gases further aggravates existing environmental issues of air pollution, climate change and global warming. So if you are driven by a desire to do something good for the planet you live on, embrace coconut bowls and be a part of this movement.
- Coconut bowls and coconut shell spoons are handmade products. Local craftsmen and artisans utilise their skills and put in a good deal of hard work to create these beautiful products. Most of these workers are from rural areas and go by on meagre incomes. By buying products like coconut bowls and coconut shell spoons, we also support these handcrafters to make a decent livelihood.
- If you wish to live sustainably or are a big follower of sustainable living, coconut bowls and coconut shell spoons are a must-buy for you. They are sustainable products in every aspect and can help you further inculcate sustainable practices in your home.
- Expensive cutlery is a thing of the past. These days, our kitchens and homes can be decorated using simple, natural products like coconut bowls which add an aesthetic touch to the surroundings. They are beautifully crafted, well-polished and make each meal look vibrant and insta-worthy. Coconut bowls are used to serve smoothies and ice creams; they are also used for home décor purposes such as to store scented candles and potpourri and create baskets and wall hanging a variety of other DIY products.
How To Make A Coconut Bowl At Home?
A notable fact about coconuts is that they are available throughout the year. If you live in a country that experiences a tropical climate, you have seen coconuts since you were born. The top exporters of coconuts worldwide are the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.
Now, you have sipped on that refreshing coconut juice, used its meat for dessert or to make coconut curry and/or coconut milk, and are left with the coconut shell. What do you do? Do not throw them. Instead, make your coconut bowl at home with the help of your hands and a few hand tools and accessories. You will need the following ingredients:
- Mature coconuts: Make sure to choose ones with slightly flatter ends, round-shaped and balance easier. Don’t use the ones with too much husk on their outer edge.
- A small handsaw
- A brush
- Linseed oil/virgin coconut oil/walnut oil/ generic vegetable oil
You can follow the easy steps given below:
- Use a handsaw to cut open the coconut in the middle. If you open the coconut by banging it or using any other method, you will most likely spoil its shape and disrupt its balance.
- To prevent the coconut from rolling over, place a kitchen towel underneath. Hold one end of the coconut and use the handsaw to cut open the coconut at the other end.
- Drain the coconut water into a bowl for a refreshing drink later.
- Next, remove the coconut meat. Use a butter knife or any blunt knife to achieve the same.
- You can use the meat to make shredded coconut, coconut flakes and other such items.
- Next, you have to use sandpaper to sand the bowls. Keep sanding the coconut shell until both the inner and outer surfaces are smooth and there are no rough edges.
- The last step involves lacquering the bowl. This is an important step to ensure that the coconut bowls are safe to serve food and other edible products. You can choose either linseed oil or organic coconut oil for this process. You need to repeat this step up to 5 times, inside and outside the coconut bowl. Make sure to dry the coconut bowl in between each repetition. For drying, you can also use the oven to accelerate the process.
- Your homemade coconut shells are now ready to use.
How To Maintain Your Coconut Bowl And Coconut Shell Spoons?
To ensure your coconut bowl and spoon last for longer and their polish remains intact, make sure to follow the guidelines below:
Do not use hot water while washing the coconut bowl and spoon set. They are not suitable for washing in a dishwasher as they shouldn’t be soaked in hot water for long periods of time. Instead, wash them immediately after use with soapy lukewarm water.
Do not store the coconut bowl and spoon in areas of extreme temperatures such as ovens, microwaves and refrigerators. Coconut bowls and coconut shell spoons cannot withstand extreme temperatures and are prone to damage and cracking.
Serve both hot and cold foods in the bowl comfortably in the coconut bowls
However, remember that the coconut bowl and coconut shell spoons may lose their shine after prolonged use. Simply re-polish them using the same oil and dry them to achieve their former lustrous well-polished look. Repeat the step 2 times for best results.
Pricing Of Coconut Bowls And Coconut Shell Spoons
The pricing of these coconut bowls and coconut shell spoons varies, depending upon the brand and the sourcing of the coconuts. These handmade products may be a bit costlier than ordinary bowls. In general, each coconut bowl is priced somewhere between Rs. 350- Rs. 600. As for the coconut shell spoons, a set of coconut shell spoons can cost between Rs. 350- Rs. 600. Their price varies depending upon the size of the spoon and the individual brand. To get a better deal, it's best to buy a coconut bowl and spoon set, which costs around Rs. 1000-Rs. 1300.
Other Eco-friendly Products made of Coconuts
Since the beginning of the coconut bowl movement, the market has seen a rise in a variety of products made from coconut shells. These include coconut shell teacups, coconut shell toothbrush holders, coconut shell soap holders, coconut shell planters, coconut shell vases, candle holders, ice cream cups and coconut shell planters, amongst others.
So what are you waiting for? Join the coconut bowl movement and use these sustainable products in your home to benefit the environment and as well as experience a sense of rewarding and self-fulfilment. Better still, use your creativity and come up with more ideas for products that can be built from coconut shells. You never know, maybe you too can build a rewarding business with just a coconut shell.
Authored By: Divya Shankar
About Author: Divya Shankar is a multifaceted content writer with 7+ years of experience. She has exclusive writing expertise in ayurveda.